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Poll body to buy P1.6B of pre-poll machines

Posted on: August 6, 2009

Poll body to buy P1.6B of pre-poll machines

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 15:30:00 08/06/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Politics, Computing & Information Technology

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will purchase an automated fingerprint identification system (Afis) and biometrics machines by end of the month, an official said.

Comelec alloted P1.6 billion to purchase additional 2,200 biometrics data capturing machines (DCMs) and an Afis system to purge its computerized voters’ list (CVL) using biometrics matching, said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez.

Comelec previously used algorithmic matching to purge the CVL by matching the voter’s name and birthday records, but a change in surname for women upon marriage or even misspelling in encoded data made it difficult to detect multiple records, he said.

He said the shift to biometrics matching would solve this problem.

Comelec’s bids and awards committee (BAC) headed by lawyer Leah Alarcon will issue a recommendation for the project award to the commission en banc by middle of August, said Jimenez.

Local Strategic Alliance Holdings Inc. (Sahi) and Bangladesh-based Tiger IT, which tendered a P1.216-billion bid, was declared by BAC to have the lowest calculated bid last week over rival Nippon Electric Co., which pegged its bid at P1.59 billion—but Sahi-Tiget IT has yet to pass the post qualification stage to get the award, noted Jimenez.

Specifically, the winning Afis bidder will provide 2,200 DCMs and an Afis system, which includes the software for cross-checking voter biometrics records; the setup of a transmission infrastructure; the renovation of Comelec’s IT department data center; and a centralized printing facility for generation of voter’s IDs.

A transmission infrastructure would provide real-time transmission of captured biometrics from Comelec election offices nationwide to the Comelec main office in Intramuro. Technical support will be provided for a year, said Jimenez.

In a separate interview, Sahi spokesman Vince Dizon said their Afis solution have been used in Bangaladesh to purge a list of 80 million voters. He said his company’s system can crosscheck or match one fingerprint set of a voter (composed of left and right thumb and index fingers) out of 480 million sets per second.

In late 2003, Comelec acquired and deployed 600 DCM units which have captured biometrics, specifically digital photo, signature, and fingerprint specimens of 23 million voters, said Jimenez.

On January, Congress ordered thecleansing of the CVL before the 2010 automated elections but Comelec said this will be “realistically done by 2013” because 25 million voters in the 2007 polls have yet to submit their biometrics that will be needed to crosscheck and purge the CVL.


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